PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — At least 100 kids on bicycles caused quite the disturbance in Providence Thursday afternoon, according to police.
Several complaints were filed throughout the city of the group recklessly riding their bicycles and obstructing traffic, according to a police report.
Police said it all began with a coordinated event on social media called “Rideout,” where a large number of juveniles made a plan to meet at Kennedy Plaza and steal JUMP bikes.
Over the course of several hours, police responded to incidents across the city where groups of bicyclists were causing disturbances, assaulting people and blocking traffic.
One man who asked to remain anonymous tells Eyewitness News one group of kids assaulted him after he told them to stop blocking the road.
“Everybody stopped, they’re banging on cars as they go by, trying to make the alarms go off, kicking cars,” he recalled. “Yout think the city’s safe and I guess it’s not.”
He said after getting their attention, several bicyclists surrounded him on South Water Street and started punching him in the face.
“Once they surround you, there’s nothing you can do,” he said. “I usually carry a knife for work, I didn’t pull it out. I don’t want to kill anybody, I’m just trying to go home.”
According to police, six of the bicyclists were arrested. The charges against them ranged from disorderly conduct, larceny and assault.
The police report said while not all of the bicyclists were riding JUMP bikes, the majority of them were.
The misuse of JUMP bikes in Providence is nothing new.
At least two dozen cars in the West End of the city had their tires slashed overnight Wednesday, according to a police report. Victims told police they saw teenagers riding JUMP bikes in the area the night before.
Police are also investigating an armed robbery that occurred last weekend where the suspect allegedly fled the scene on a JUMP bike.
Councilman Michael Correia tells Eyewitness News the use of JUMP bikes for crime is a “serious problem” plaguing the city.
He said he has received numerous complaints from residents and has asked the company to remove the bikes from neighborhoods until a way to improve regulations on the bikes is discussed and agreed upon.
A spokesperson for JUMP said in an email: “This is a concerning report and something we take very seriously. We stand ready to fully cooperate with investigators and will provide any information that can help their investigation.”